hank4Thank you Mr. Harden for your reply and the direction you have directed me to. Both the city charter and “Inspect what you expect” seem to be the tools I am looking for both city council and city manager to utilize. I will do research on your recommendations.
sincerely, Hank Springer
From Hank Springer
386 852 3178

Subject: RE: Hank replies to Mr. Harden
Date: Mon, 23 Mar 2015 18:30:23 +0000
I suggest reading Section 3.04(b) of the Port Orange City Charter. The charter does prohibit the city council or its members from giving “orders” to officers or employees subject to the city manager, but allows council members to deal with officers and employees for the purpose of “inquiries and investigation”. The charter goes on to say, “Nothing in the foregoing is to be construed to prohibit individual members of the council from closely scrutinizing by questions and personal observation, all aspects of city government operations. . . .” Subsequently, recommendations for improvement are to be made “to and through the city manager. . . .” I know that members of the city council do speak with city employees from time to time about city operations.
As for relying entirely on departmental reports for information on what is going on, that flies in the face of the concepts of “Management by Wandering Around” and “Inspect What You Expect”, both of which are important aspects of managing an organization like the City of Port Orange.

hank4Hank Springer to City Councilman Harden:
Thank you Mr. Harden for your clarification of your own thoughts on freedom of speech and being a leader. On first reading I thought I would let your comments stand without a reply from me, but after a second reading I thought it best to give some attention to what you wrote as follows:
“…. I also recognize that sometimes a Council member may perceive a conflict between their role as leaders of the City staff and their role as promoters and guardians of the public interest….”
I probably need some correction in my thinking and I would like to yield to your public service education and years of experience in the profession. But I have some questions about your statement.
I suspect when you wrote ”… a Council member may perceive a conflict between their role as leaders of the City staff …” that you were referring to city administrative staff such as directors of departments. If you had meant City staff as related to city council members, to consist solely of the city manager, please clarify for me.
I understand that the charter for the city of Port Orange prevents city council from communicating with departmental heads and God forbid either a city councilman or the city manager should wander out into the field into a department and inspect daily operations.
If I am correct, that the city council can only get information about what departmental heads are doing via the city manager, I do not see cause for any conflicts of priorities among city council members. City council members work for the public, city manager works for city council members, departmental heads work for city manager.
If my perspective of the chain of command and communication is correct, it looks to me that city council members do not have the tools to see on a daily, weekly, or monthly basis, if the city manager is doing his job. And thus, only when negative operational failures are publicized, a significant number of times by citizens, does the city council members have the opportunity to address these failures. Certainly in my judgment the city council has no control over city operations, neither does the public. The last resort is negative criticism of operational failures.
In the past city managers have relied on departmental reports and paying auditing companies for their inspection and control functions. Such misguided reliance has resulted in much money lost or wasted, and incubation for public criticism.
Among the public, city council members, departmental staff, city managers, a poisonous atmosphere of mistrust has developed and such an atmosphere of distrust among all concerned probably generated that discussion about negative criticism.
I think the public has to realize that city council has absolutely no control of city operations and yet the public misguidedly expects city council to fix operational problems.
I pains me to say, once again, control is gained by inspections, not merely reports from departmental heads or quarterly audit reports. Is there a fear that inspections diminish morale, or creates a “hostile environment”? I believe there is.
Sincerely, Hank springer

Previously from city manager of Port Orange, David Harden:
david_hardenSince questions have been raised a couple of times now about my statements concerning negative criticism of the City, let me clarify my position.
I certainly do not support “stifling” negative criticism. To do so leads to or feeds hubris, which usually ends with disastrous consequences. I do believe, however, that such criticism in the context of a City Council meeting should not take the form of personal attacks, especially ad hominin attacks.
As for my comment about being taught that one should criticize in private and praise in public, that is what one should do in order to be an effective leader. Public criticism of an individual is demotivating and is not what a leader needs to do in order to get the best from his subordinates.
I also recognize that sometimes a Council member may perceive a conflict between their role as leaders of the City staff and their role as promoters and guardians of the public interest.
all above posted 1135 am 3 23 15
David Harden

Hank Springer
386 852 3178

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